KUALA LUMPUR : Money changer Omar Ali Abdullah told the High Court here today that Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had never instructed him to use his personal contacts to issue cheques to replace cash donations meant for charity body Yayasan Akalbudi.
Omar Ali, 48, said that it was his own initiative.
The money was donated by individuals to be deposited into accounts of Yayasan Akalbudi.
He said this during a cross-examination by lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal representing Ahmad Zahid on the 28th day of the trial of Ahmad Zahid, who is facing 47 criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering charges involving funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
Ahmad Zaidi: I suggest to you that Datuk Seri Zahid never give instructions to you (Omar) to find anyone who wants to convert the cash into cheques.
Omar Ali: Agree.
The 81st prosecution witness also agreed with Ahmad Zaidi’s suggestion that the money received from donors was never deposited into Yayasan Akalbudi accounts in cash because the bank would not accept deposit of more than RM500,000.
On Monday, Omar Ali, an individual who was allegedly laundered money on behalf of Ahmad Zahid, told the High Court that the accused had asked him to help manage the cash donations into accounts of Yayasan Akalbudi.
Omar Ali, while reading his witness statement, said that after receiving instructions from Ahmad Zahid to convert cash into cheques, he had asked his contacts if they wanted to do so.
Previously, seven prosecution witnesses told the court that Omar Ali had suggested that they provided the cheques by leaving the payer’s name field blank and to issue them to Lewis & Co, the trustee of Yayasan Akalbudi.
Meanwhile, during re-examination by deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Sazilee Abdul Khairi, Omar Ali told the court that Ahmad Zahid’s instruction to him was that he should receive cash donations and convert them into cheques to be deposited into Yayasan Akalbudi accounts.
When asked by Ahmad Sazilee if he was informed by Ahmad Zahid how to convert the cash into cheques, Omar Ali replied, “no”.
Ahmad Sazilee: If not using the idea (using his contacts) can those cheques be obtained?
Omar Ali: No.
For the 27th charge, Ahmad Zahid is accused of having committed money-laundering by instructing Omar Ali to convert for him a cash amounting to RM6,885,300.20 which is income from illegal activities, into 30 cheques that were given to Messrs Lewis & Co for the opening of Maybank fixed deposit accounts.
Ahmad Zahid, 67, is facing 47 charges, with 12 of them involving criminal breach of trust, eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit of funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
The trial before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow.